Activision Blizzard apparently decided to sell to Microsoft because of how its flagship games are being hounded by negativity, and not because of the troubling allegations of sexual misconduct.
Speaking with GamesBeat in a recent interview, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick stated that the ongoing sexual harassment investigations and lawsuits played no part in the acquisition.
He noted that the stock price of the company dipped due to Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 being constantly delayed, as well as due to ongoing performance issues with Call of Duty. Hence, what Microsoft proposed was good for shareholders and eventually a good deal for all parties involved, he added.
“I think what affected the stock price more than that is pushing out Overwatch and Diablo,” said Kotick. “And then I think people started to see that this year’s Call of Duty wasn’t performing as well.
“So I think certainly the [California Department of Fair Employment and Housing] filing and the Wall Street Journal article contributed to that, but stocks go up and down for a variety of reasons. I think our view was that at $95 a share with all cash, that’s a really great deal for our shareholders. And so that was an easy and independent judgment. It’s a great deal.”
According to a report by Bloomberg earlier today, Kotick had no intention of selling even when he came under pressure to resign following damning allegations last year for housing a highly abusive workplace culture where several executives were not only aware of the problems but also played their roles as enablers.
However, when Microsoft offered its proposition, Kotick reportedly “put the word out to see if any other company would outbid Microsoft,” eventually settling for Microsoft due to “little leverage with his board amid the ongoing public scrutiny at his company.”
Microsoft will be acquiring Activision Blizzard, all of its subsidiary studios and game franchises, for close to $70 billion, making the Call of Duty publisher a first-party Xbox Game Studio from here on, or at least once the acquisition nears completion.